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The article “Abolish Marriage” by Michael Kinsley is about why we should get rid of the institution of marriage. Kinsley proposes that marriage should be taken out of federal government and be put into the hands of private organizations. Kinsley argues that if marriage was privatized, the gay marriage debate as well as a lot of the controversy on marriage would be eliminated. Although Kinsley makes an interesting argument, it is bad idea and only simply will not work with today’s society.
Kinsley’s solution to the gay marriage debate is to end the institution of government-sanctioned marriage. His idea for marriage is to simply privatize it and let organizations such as churches, department stores, casinos and other such place to have it. He wants to let couples celebrate marriage however and wherever they want and under any rules the couple prefers. Kinsley even suggests if a person wants to marry themselves or even three or more people want to marry, let them do it.
Firstly, if marriage were abolished, would it eliminate the various state and federal benefits couples enjoy? Most of us today are concerned about money and how we can save and make the most of it. Federal and state benefits provide benefits to married couples such as tax credits, spousal veterans’ benefits, joint insurance plans, martial confidence privileges, and much more. If marriage were privatized, would most of these benefits go away because they are federally established benefits for married couples? This point alone would sway most married couples away from privatizing marriages because of the fear of it hurting their bank account. What about the confidence privilege? If federal marriage was ended, a spouse could be asked to testify against their spouse in court. Basic laws are in place for married couples to forbid this. This would be a huge disadvantage because married couples know should know each other better than anyone else.
Secondly ending federal marriage would lead to it being very impersonal. First off churches and casinos would first begin marrying people in the private sector. Eventually anyone could walk to their local grocery store to buy some wine and get married. It just would not mean the same thing anymore. Also with this point anyone would be allowed to marry anything or anyone depending on the organization. Although this would eliminate the gay marriage debate, it would just open up much more severe debates. For instance, anyone could marry them self, a dog, a sibling, someone 70 years older, or maybe even 17 best friends. American society is not ready for this, and would never let something like this happen.
Lastly if marriage were privatized, it would not be recognized universally anywhere. Between organization to organization marriage “laws” would be different if everyone could make up their own rules. So someone could get married at their local casino in Pennsylvania and move to New York and their marriage might not be recognized. This could deter people from moving to another state just because of the fear of losing their marriage recognition and benefits from that state. There would be no set rules to marriage and its limitations, cost and benefits.
Analyzing these issues helps us realize the damages abolishing marriages would do to society as a whole. Some pro gay-marriage advocates would agree ending the federal institution of marriage would be helpful to their cause and, end what seems like a never ending debate on same sex marriage. But doing so would have more negative effects than positive to everyone as a whole.